When I picked T up from school that day, he wasn’t wearing his dress. He’d worn a t-shirt and jeans under it, since it wasn’t actually a dress and didn’t fit quite right. His headband was missing as well. But he had a big smile on his face and greeted me as cheerfully as usual. He picked up his dress and headband from his cubbie and stuffed them into his backpack. So I asked, why wasn’t he wearing his dress?
He said something about his teacher having him take it off, that he could bring it back for “share day”. Between his teacher and him, something must have gotten lost in translation. She saw the dress as a “costume”, which wouldn’t be allowed until Friday when they could bring something from home to share with the class. She didn’t realize he was wearing it as his regular clothes.
He said that his friends laughed at him a little bit, but he told me, “I used my words and told them they weren’t being nice. And then they stopped.”
I asked him if he’d wear his dress to school again, and he said he would.
When I posted about his dress wearing the first time, I was called brave. And even though I had a conversation with my mother about how other people see what I did, that’s not how I see it at all. I don’t see that word associated to me. I know I’m doing something right, since my son is growing up to be whoever it is he’s going to be. But brave? That’s not me.
Brave is the little boy wearing the dress to school, even though he knows his classmates might make fun of him.
My son is brave.
He wanted to wear a dress to school, and so he did. His goals in life are simple, but he still goes for them. He wants to experiment with his clothes and his nails and temporary tattoos and his hair – so he does. He’s figuring out who he is and, for the most part, doesn’t let anybody get in the way of that.
Yes, I had a hand in raising a son who is comfortable enough in himself to break what someone else has already taught him is the “norm”. But this is not my achievement. This is his. He is the brave one.
I’m just the proud mom in the background.